Making your farm a safer place to work and live doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, a tidy up of the yard can reap real benefits in terms of saving time, saving costs and most importantly, saving lives…
• Regularly walk around your farm and assess the potential dangers.
• If you want to know what a good farm looks like but don’t know where to start, the HSE have this fantastic resource CLICK HERE
• Store all vehicles, machinery and chemicals behind locked doors and remove keys to a safe place.
• Ensure only those who are trained or undergoing supervised training are using agricultural vehicles and machines.
• Keep a log of injuries and near-misses so you can highlight areas for improvement.
• Discuss regularly with the team how you can improve ways of working safety. This is your responsibility under law.
• Create a safe and contained play area for young children close to the house and away from hazards.
• Children should not be allowed into the farmyard and other work areas unsupervised. It is illegal for children under 13 to ride in or on, or drive, farm vehicles such as tractors and ATVs. No one under 16 can operate harvesters, spreaders, machines with power-driven, soil-engaging parts, adult-sized ATVs or other self-propelled machines.
CLICK HERE to access our guide to preparing a farm emergency plan
One region where action is being driven is the South West of England. The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) South West regional board comprises county chairs, NFU council delegates and sector representatives from each county of the region (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire). Their recently launched “Take Action Today” campaign is asking farmers to choose one (or more) safety led actions from a suggested list, which they will agree to implement as soon as they can.
This ranges from having regular health and safety meetings with staff, to checking ladders are safe and machinery guards are fitted, to making sure everyone has a helmet for use on quad bikes, that safe livestock handling systems are in place and emergency contacts are up to date.
Regional board chairman Mark Weekes, who himself undertook to regularly check trailer brakes, said:
“As busy farmers ourselves, we know how tempting it can be sometimes to either take a shortcut because you need to get a job done, or put off doing that safety check or inspection because other work seems more urgent. But we owe it to ourselves, our farm workers and our families to do everything we can to make sure we come home safe.
“We also hope this campaign will be a reminder that looking after your safety need not necessarily be particularly expensive or time consuming, but it is something that, as an industry, we need to make a priority and have at the forefront of everything we do, as we have to face the fact that our safety record is not good.”
Farmers will be asked to write their safety pledge on a reminder card which will be available at NFU meetings and can be downloaded from NFUonline along with the actions list. The card can then be affixed to a farm noticeboard as a reminder of the safety action to be taken.
• Make sure there is easy access to a suitable and well-stocked first aid kit.
• Make sure at least one person on the farm is trained in first aid.
• Keep your plan updated and accessible for all workers
• Plan routes to the nearest hospital – make sure it has an emergency department.
• Regularly talk through the plan with family and other workers.
• Make sure your children understand what to do in an emergency.
For more information from HSE please CLICK HERE